noun, plural ci·vil·i·ties.

courtesy; politeness.
a polite action or expression: an exchange of civilities.
Archaic. civilization; culture; good breeding.

Nearby words

  1. civilian clothes,
  2. civilian conservation corps,
  3. civilian review board,
  4. civilianize,
  5. civilisation,
  6. civilization,
  7. civilize,
  8. civilized,
  9. civilly,
  10. civils

Origin of civility

1350–1400; Middle English civilite < Middle French < Latin cīvīlitāt- (stem of cīvīlitās) courtesy. See civil, -ity

Related formso·ver·ci·vil·i·ty, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for civility

British Dictionary definitions for civility


noun plural -ties

politeness or courtesy, esp when formal
(often plural) an act of politeness
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for civility



late 14c., "status of a citizen," from Old French civilite (14c.), from Latin civitatem (nominative civitas) "the art of governing; courteousness," from cvilis "relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen; popular, affable, courteous" (see civil). Later especially "good citizenship" (1530s). Also "state of being civilized" (1540s); "behavior proper to civilized persons" (1560s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper